Is Technology Killing the Romance of the Pen?

May 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

We have taken delivery of the new Parker Sonnet Rose Gold fountain pen.  On first sight it is quite stunning with its copper toned, brushed gold finish.  Technically, rose gold is a gold with a higher copper content than traditional 18ct gold.  The finish is the equivalent of a gold plated pen giving it colour and durability without the cost of pure gold.

Parker Sonnet Rose Gold fountain pen is better in the flesh!

Parker Sonnet Rose Gold fountain pen

Looking into the detail of the pen, however, reveals not even ‘gold plating’ but PVD!  I have touched on this technology in my earlier blog ‘has your pen experienced magnetron sputtering’ where I highlighted the delightfully titled magnetron sputtering process.  This is a colourful description of one of the processes used to produce the finish known as PVD or physical vapour deposition. 

In the context of pens, the principle of PVD is similar to traditional electro-plating in that a fine coating of metal is applied to the components surface.  However, PVD is a vaporisation-based system which involves the coating of the pen at an atomic particle level. In principle, the pen component is placed in a vacuum and the mineral to be used for the coating is blasted with a high-energy beam of electrons, vaporising the atoms on the mineral’s surface and firing them onto the component’s surface.  The process is more precise than traditional electro-plating offering a more durable finish capable of retaining finer surface detailing.

Unfortunately, while this technology offers benefits to both manufacturer and customer, the name is rubbish!  PVD, TVP, DDT, PVC.  Can’t somebody come up with something that doesn’t sound like a plastic fly killer and restore at least some of the romance?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_vapor_deposition

Has Google Lost its Democratic Roots?

May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

At PenFountain.com we can beat the bigger players on price, delivery and service.  Case in point: we offer Waterman and Parker pens with alternative nibs from stock.  Few others do. In the last 6 months there has been a significant increase in the number of  ‘bigger players’ looking to mop up extra turnover by pushing into previously untapped niche markets such as fountain pens.  These high street names have enormous resources to promote their brand and are starting to make in-roads into ‘our’ market. 

Waterman Carene fountain pens with alternative nibs from stock

Waterman Carene fountain pens with alternative nibs from stock

Previously, Google has bent-over backwards to maintain its democratic roots by adjusting the algorithms to balance its search results for benefit of its users.  However, come June, at PenFountain.com we are going to be put under increasing pressure with the demand to include several key pieces of product information including core data, such as barcode EAN numbers required to be included in Google Shopping.  We don’t currently have barcode numbers on our database and it requires significant changes to our website to change the product information database.  The big players have this resource to do this.  We don’t.  So, another avenue to promote our business becomes swamped.  The losers? We are, through reduced business, and you are, through reduced choice in the Google Shopping tool.  We are working towards the required inclusion but it’s a shed load of work.

The Nib of the Issue

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been doing a bit of a stock check of late at PenFountain.com and have found some interesting numbers – disturbing if you’re an accountant and heart warming if you’re a pen enthusiast!  We have over £3000.00 worth of replacement nibs just for Waterman Carene and Parker Duofold pens.

Waterman Carene fountain pen nibs

Waterman Carene replacement nibs

On reflection, I suppose that’s what makes our offer different.  Although a luxury, we try to keep the slightly less popular nibs in stock such as, stubs and obliques. This works on the theory that we rotate stock with the manufacturers in that we take the stock medium nibs replaced on out-going pens and return them in exchange for the more exotic styles.  Unfortunately, the process is fraught with issues, usually time related.  We send the nibs to the factory in Nantes, Northern France, and particularly at busy times,  it may take a couple of weeks for the replacements to come back.  In the meantime, we have sold nibs or swapped them and find that our stock is out of sync with the incoming stocks!  So we start all over again.

 So, if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, we may be able to help – subject to stock of course.

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